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Cereb Cortex. 2017 Nov 1;27(11):5211-5221. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw301.

Prefrontal Volume Mediates Effect of COMT Polymorphism on Interference Resolution Capacity in Healthy Male Adults.

Xu J1, Qin W1, Li Q2, Li W1, Liu F1, Liu B3,4, Jiang T3,4, Yu C1.

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Department of Radiology and Tianjin Key Laboratory of Functional Imaging, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin 300052, P.R. China.
College of Information Engineering, Tianjin University of Commerce, Tianjin 300052, P.R. China.
Brainnetome Center, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P.R. China.
National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P.R. China.


There exist gender differences in the modulation of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism on cognitive performance; however, the underlying gene-anatomy-cognition pathways remain unknown. Here we hypothesize that prefrontal volume may mediate the modulation of COMT Val158Met polymorphism on interference resolution capacity in a gender-dependent manner. In 261 healthy young human subjects (143 males and 118 females), a 2-way analysis of variance showed a COMT × gender interaction (P = 0.023) on interference resolution capacity. Val/Val subjects performed worse in Stroop interference test than Met/Met subjects only in males (P = 0.028). Voxel-wise analysis in the whole brain also exhibited a COMT × gender interaction on gray matter volume (GMV) in the left lateral frontal pole (FP). Val/Val male individuals exhibited significantly decreased GMV in the left lateral FP than Val/Met (P = 0.003) and Met/Met (P = 0.006) male carriers. Mediation analysis revealed that the GMV of the left lateral FP mediated the association between COMT polymorphism and interference resolution in males. These findings provide a gene-anatomy-cognition pathway to describe how COMT Val158Met polymorphism affects interference resolution capacity via modulating the prefrontal GMV in healthy male subjects.


Stroop interference resolution; catechol-O-methyltransferase; gender; gray matter volume; mediation analysis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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